Kyle is really into science. He loves to watch the Weather Channel and to look up facts on the internet. This morning he drew a cross-section of a tornado, then made a spinning tornado/ball device with a paper plate and a bouncy ball. “This is what a tornado looks like” he said, holding up the piece of paper, “and this is what it looks like when it’s spinning.” Then he titled the plate so the ball would spin around.
There’s a little tornado inside me, too.
For the past few months I have been running through our life nonstop. It’s been wonderful – lots of family time, moving to this new neighborhood and discovering things together, traveling together, etc. It doesn’t ever stop: this weekend we’ll go camping in Ventura, then Labor Day weekend we’ll go Camping With the Lesbians again (hooray!). All of this activity, though, doesn’t allow me much time to contemplate the nagging worries that pop up in my brain when I’m driving alone, or right before I fall asleep at night.
One of my girlfriends confessed that she sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night and worries about the Big Things. She can’t go back to sleep. It’s as if the middle of the night is the only time free for such preoccupation. Certainly a busy mother of two does not have the opportunity to dwell on the unknowns of the near future during the hustle and bustle of a regular day. What would that even look like? I picture myself sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in my hands, staring off into space, a pinched “V” between my brows. The lonely act of worrying.
In fact, I sat down here at my desk just now to Get My Shit Together. My plan was to Organize, List, and Come Up With a Strategy. But guess what? I can’t do that without typing, and so I remembered this blog and how wonderful it always feels to work my shit out right here.
I’ve taken a long time to get to the point, I know. Perhaps I’ll go back and edit this post to give you the goods quicker. For now I’ll just bold it:
I’m considering becoming a Stay At Home Mom.
Now those of you who just come here because you’re intrigued by the title, or to look at the pictures, have scrolled down and blessedly missed all of the blah-blah above. The point is, my kids are going to school. Not someday, as I had always feared, but next month. In TWO WEEKS, to be exact. Kyle starts Kindergarten, and I am terrified.
What if he gets put in the early bird class?
What if kids pick on him?
What if he picks on other kids?
What if he gets sick?
How will he get to catechism?
How will he ever get to play extra curricular sports?
Who will do his homework with him?
Where will he go on days off and the new ridiculous week-long Thanksgiving holiday?
How will I pay for full-time aftercare?
What about when BOTH kids are in school?
My day job is not paying me enough to justify all that day care for both kids. I have arranged to work part time to pick up Kyle. But then there’s all these short days and local holidays, etc. There’s events and shows and fundraisers. I never, ever, EVER thought I’d say this, but I want to be involved. I want to be there for him. I want to be an active parent, at home with my kids.
There. I said it. I breathe a huge sigh of relief as I put that out into the universe. Now begins the arduous, scary, thrilling task of making this change possible. We can’t support our lifestyle without my income, you see, so either the lifestyle goes, or I keep up the income on a schedule that allows me to be here for my children when they are not in school.
My life has always been one way. Now it needs to be the other way. Unfortunately, I can’t just flip a switch and make it happen. I have to work at it. Not only do I have to pinch pennies and/or hustle up the part-time work or the clients for my freelance writing career (hello possible clients, you may contact me via the email in the upper right corner), but I also have to shift my mentality. All those hours of being with my children after working full time for so long – that will be an adjustment. How easy or hard it will be I cannot tell. I pray for easy!
I was afraid to tell Stewart about this desire of mine to stop working out of the home and stay here with the kids. I thought he would laugh at me and say “You don’t really want to stay home with them!” After all, I love my career. I get impatient with the children. I shoo them out of the house in the morning, impatient for Stewart to take them off to day care so I can fit in social media and blogging time before I go to work. But as I carefully pointed out to him several times over the last few months while this idea was brewing in my head, I have been so much better with the kids, and they’ve been better with me. We’ve come a long way.
As I mentioned, we do depend on my salary, the loss of which I know concerns him. But as my salary has suffered from the economic downturn, it makes less and less sense to bank on that job. I have done what I can to drum up clients for that company, but either nobody’s buying or I’m going about it the wrong way, because I haven’t been successful at the sales effort.
I thought I’d have to “run the numbers” and do a presentation complete with a Power Point slide show to convince Stewart of my seriousness. Since I don’t have time for that, I brought it up last night, and all I had to do was weep a tiny little bit as I talked about my idea, and his face softened and he said “Of course I wouldn’t laugh at you, honey.” He thinks it’s a good idea, and that it would be good for our family.
And then he asked me to run the numbers.
I’ll do that. I’m sure I’ll come up short in the income category. But I’m putting my faith in the universe, and in myself, that I can fix that part. Maybe something amazing will happen. At the very least, my kids will be happy.